An anniversary couple touch each other’s wedding bands as Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., bestows a blessing on the rings during the Oct. 2 Bishop’s Anniversary Blessing Mass in St. Robert Bellarmine Church, Freehold. Ken Falls photo
An anniversary couple touch each other’s wedding bands as Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., bestows a blessing on the rings during the Oct. 2 Bishop’s Anniversary Blessing Mass in St. Robert Bellarmine Church, Freehold. Ken Falls photo

During both Anniversary Masses, a number of couples shared reflections and experiences on married life, what it means to be observing an important milestone such as a first, silver, golden or diamond wedding anniversary or having the opportunity to participate in the Bishop’s Anniversary Blessing Mass. Here is a sampling of some of their responses.

Marital Milestones

“It’s nice to look back at the past year and celebrate our first anniversary in the Church,” said Chris Worth of Sacred Heart Parish, Bay Head, of his first anniversary to his wife, Meghan. “Today is also a special time for us to remember why we got married.”

“Today, I wanted to share this moment and rekindle the love that I have for my wife and knowing that it started in a building, a place like this with the grace of God,” said Richard West of Blessed Sacrament-Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd Parish, Trenton, who has been married to his wife, Saundra, for 50 years.

By attending the Bishop’s Anniversary Blessing Mass, Christine Paccione of St. Mary Parish, Colts Neck, said that she and her husband of 25 years, Thomas, wanted to “rejuvenate and renew what we started 25 years ago.”

Total Reliance on God

Barbara McDonald of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, said that if the faith that she and her husband of 50 years, Edward, had both been raised in had not been a part of their marriage, it would have made dealing with various life events such as raising children, illness, job issues and caring for aging parents all the more difficult.

Nancy and Bill De Vece of Sacred Heart Parish, Riverton, said their Catholic faith has been very important throughout the many milestones during their 60 years together, recalling how it was their complete dependence on God that saw them through the loss of their baby daughter, who was six weeks old when she died.

“Our Church is the place where we started our lives and this journey,” said Mike Sosa of St. Joseph Parish, Millstone, who has been married to his wife, Laura, for 25 years. “Our faith is important to us, so we continue to keep going to Mass to keep our faith and our bond strong.”

Joining Their Diocesan Family

“Even though I didn’t know everyone here,” Barbara McDonald of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, said of the other couples in attendance at the Cathedral, “we are here because of our common belief in the Eucharist, our vows and the Sacrament of Matrimony. Today, I took away the Church’s affirmation of our vocation and strengthening in our marriage,” said McDonald.

Looking Ahead 25 Years

“We plan to be here for our 75th!” said Ralph De Maio of St. Aloysius Parish, Jackson, who has been married for 50 years to his wife, Lauren.